Thursday 19 July 2018

Rescuers reach site of deadly plane crash

Iranian rescue teams battle severe weather as they search for a passenger plane that disappeared high in the Zagros mountains. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Iranian rescue teams battle severe weather as they search for a passenger plane that disappeared high in the Zagros mountains. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Amir Vahdat

Iranian search and rescue teams yesterday reached the site of a plane crash that authorities say killed all 65 people on board, Iran's Press TV reported.

The Aseman Airlines ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flying, went down on Sunday in foggy weather, crashing into Mount Dena in a remote area of southern Iran. The airliner said all on board Flight EP3704 were killed, including six crew members.

The crash of the aircraft, brought back into service only months ago after being grounded for seven years, was yet another fatal aviation disaster for Iran, which for years was barred from buying necessary airplane parts due to western sanctions over its contested nuclear programme.

Press TV said search teams reached the crash site before dawn yesterday. The station said the weather had improved, though it was still windy. The semi-official Tasnim news agency cited the military as saying Russia had helped locate the crash site. Russia and Iran are close military allies.

The TV broadcast footage of a helicopter joining the search and showed ambulances and rescue vehicles preparing to reach the site on Mount Dena, which is about 4,400 meters tall. The site is reportedly at a height of 3,500 meters.

Other Iranian news outlets and officials did not confirm that the crash site had been reached. State radio said five helicopters and five drones are active in the search operation.

Irish Independent

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